An exhibition that opened at the National Gallery of Canada over the weekend explains how a famous artwork was restored to its former glory.
The four pieces of Paolo Veronese’s historic work, the Petrobelli Altarpiece, have been reunited some 400 years after their original creation, and together, will tell a tale of 18th-century vandalism, 19th-century collecting, modern conservation and 21st-century scholarship.
“The reunification of these four pieces will make this marvelous work accessible to the public and scholars alike,” said NGC director Marc Mayer.
Around 1563, Paolo Veronese created an altarpiece — a large, arched work to be placed in a high stone portico — that comprised three main groups of figures standing in a triangle. Centuries later, the work was cut into pieces by art dealers who saw the value in selling it in smaller sections.
These changed hands many times. While one of the pieces suffered serious damage in its travels, the NGC’s restoration team, composed of Stephen Gritt and Tomas Markevicius, spent two years restoring it. Putting the pieces together happened through a partnership between the National Gallery of Canada, the Dulwich Picture Gallery London, the Blanton Museum of Art in Austin, Texas, and the National Gallery of Scotland in Edinburgh.